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Posts Tagged ‘Exodus’


Judges 2: Joshua

Saturday, July 1, 2017

As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

The Book of Judges, as we have seen, brings us accounts of God’s fidelity in the face of the faithful’s repeated and blatant infidelity. Human nature has not changed over the millennia and so we may want to reassure ourselves that God indeed sends heroes to save us, despite our lack of constancy.

Today’s chapter recalls the leader Joshua who leads the Israelites into Canaan and establishes the twelve tribes in the land promised to them by Yahweh. When we see how the people turn to pagan gods to later turn and repent, we might also see our own repeated cycle. We become comfortable, then turn to our own pagan gods of social media, status seeking, and comfort zones. We encounter obstacles only to realize that while God helps us through our daily turmoil, God also sustains our eternal selves.

As for me and my family, we will serve God. (Joshua 24:15)

Of course, Yahweh abides – as God always does. But what we notice today is that once the generation who trekked from bondage to freedom has passed away, once all of these people who suffered in the desert are gone, once they have been nourished and fed and can relax a bit, the Israelites fall back into the old patterns and habits of sin. As we progress in our own pilgrimage from desert to promise, we might reflect on the heroes who intervene for us at just the right moments. And we might turn and return to God, to take up where we have left off in our journey home.

When we revive the old tales of salvation, we remember our own stories. Each time God saves us, heals, transforms and lifts us up, we might want to record our transformation and give thanks to God. We might also share our stories of redemption so that others might remember God’s love and generosity.

As for me and my household, we will worship the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

As a young man, Joshua joins the great Exodus from Egypt and rises to second-in-command as the twelve tribes journey through the desert. Serving Yahweh, he shows his strengths as a practical leader. Although we can imagine that Joshua had moments of doubt, scripture gives us no story of his turning away from the Lord. Always serving, Joshua remains constant, persistent and generous, ready to do what Yahweh asks of him. Always moving forward, Joshua remains hopeful, courageous and open to Yahweh’s call. Today we reflect on how we might look at Joshua to discern what we might learn, and how we too, might serve as one of God’s heroes.

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

Adapted from a reflection written on February 22, 2007.

For commentary on Joshua, click the image above or visit: https://theisraelbible.com/bible/joshua 

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John 10: Coming In and Going Out

Monday, May 15, 2017

Because we hear this story each Eastertide, we know this image well; yet do we listen fully to the description of the relationship between the shepherd and his sheep? And do we notice that once the shepherd leads his sheep into the fold, he then leads them out again?

When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. (Verse 4)

In Jesus’ day, it was the habit of a good rabbi to explore familiar scripture to listen for new juxtapositions and orientations. This re-working of a familiar message asks the faithful to remain awake, to sustain fidelity, to live a hope-filled and loving life that will grow in Christ. We return to Jesus’ words.

 I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. (Verse 9)

The Winnowing Fork

We do not know the hour or day of the winnowing fork and so we are to stand ready like those who exited slavery in the great exodus with Moses (Exodus). We are to take unleavened bread and remember that we are marked with the sign of thau (Ezekiel 9:4) and respond to the shepherd’s call each time we hear his voice. In this way, we prepare to recognize the shepherd to follow him into the safety of the sheepfold . . . so that we may also follow him back through the gate and into the world.

When we compare different translations of John 10, we have a better understanding of our unique relationship with Christ as the leader who calls us into the sheepfold, so that he might lead us out into the world.

For an interesting article on the Exodus story, visit: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/moses-exodus.html

For more information on the sign of thau, visit the Biblehub at: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/ezekiel/9-4.htm

For more on the connection between the sign of thau and the sign of the cross, visit: http://catholicexchange.com/biblical-roots-sign-cross

Adapted from a reflection written on August 30, 2007.

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Exodus 2:6: Behold the Child

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Edwin Longsden Long: The Finding of Moses

Edwin Longsden Long: The Finding of Moses

In this final week of Advent, let us decide to make our hopes tangible, our dreams a prayer for our reality, our faith unwavering and our love secure. Let us cleave to the Creator, follow the Redeemer and rest in the Spirit. This week let us give one another the gift of preparing for the very real promise of eternity.

The Old Testament prepares us for a child born in dangerous circumstances who will later save a nation.

When the daughter of Pharaoh opened the basket, she saw the child, and behold, the boy was crying. And she had pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” (NRSV)

The story of the Hebrew captivity in Egypt prepares us to be a people in exile.

The princess opened the basket and saw a baby boy. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said. (GNT)

The story of the Hebrew Exodus to a place of promise prepares us to be a pilgrim church.

She opened the basket and looked inside, and there in front of her was a crying baby boy! Moved with pity, she said, “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children.” (CJB)

The story of the foreign princess nurturing a child who will rescue a nation prepares us for God’s promises.

Pharaoh’s daughter came down to the Nile to bathe; her maidens strolled on the bank. She saw the basket-boat floating in the reeds and sent her maid to get it. She opened it and saw the child—a baby crying! Her heart went out to him. She said, “This must be one of the Hebrew babies.” (MSG)

Behold, God uses the marginalized to reveal the false security of the center.

When we reflect on other translations of the Moses story, we understand that God speaks to always with stories of inversion. And we realize that our own story must stand on its head if it is to align with the story of Christ.

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Psalm 105God’s Faithfulness

Sunday, October 30, 2016

David Teis: Moses and Aaron

David Teis: Moses, Aaron and Hur

A Favorite from October 6, 2009. 

And the Lord made his people very fruitful, and made them stronger than their foes . . .

In today’s Noontime we are reminded about the exodus story and about how God called a people from slavery.  This a psalm of thanksgiving for a god who, rather than treat his people like toys to play with, rather than demand service and human sacrifice of his people, chooses to protect, call and love them.  Where the following psalm deals with the topic of sin, this one is a hymn of praise for a God who abides by our covenant pact . . . even though we do not.

We also see a theme from the Genesis story of Joseph who says to his brothers: God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.  (Genesis 45:7)  As in the Joseph story, when ugly things happen we have no way of understanding how God will use the harm directed at us to be converted to good.  So many times – if we can just hold on – we will see the fruitfulness of our suffering when God works wonders with our enemies and with us.

They performed his signs among them, and miracles . . . Moses and Aaron are designated by God as miracle workers among the Hebrews in order that his greatness be known.  We too, are called to work miracles in God’s name so that the world may know God’s awesome power and love.

So he brought his people out with joy, his chosen ones with singing . . .

Jesus lives among us to bring us the good news that there is universal salvation for those who choose to follow him.

Jesus works among us to preserve and to protect those who follow him.

Jesus waits patiently for each of us to knock at the great door of his heart to ask for his help so that he, like the Father, may show us his love and his awesome faithfulness.

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Joshua 18:1-10Taking Steps

Sunday, September 18, 2016canaan3

How much longer will you put off taking steps to possess the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?

When the Hebrew people make their exodus from Egypt they are going back to the land that has been promised them by Yahweh.  In today’s reading we arrive at the part in that story where several tribes have yet to realize their inheritance.  Archaeologists have not found traces of the enormous migration described in scripture but what they do see is evidence of cultures merging and reshaping as the peoples in the region struggle to survive through periods of famine and drought.  The peoples sometimes unite against invaders.  They sometimes strike out on their own to take over city-states and their surrounding territory.

Today we read about the precision and care the Israelites take in acquiring the land promised to them through the covenant established between Abraham and Yahweh.  We also read about the care they take to include God’s influence and authority in their own plans.  We might learn a good deal from this as we practice how to not put off taking steps to possess that which the Lord God has already given us.

We are given the gift of freedom; yet we sometimes allow ourselves to become trapped by the shackles we insist on acquiring.

We are given the gift of faith; yet we sometimes respond more to fear than reliance on God.

We are given the gift of hope; yet we sometimes sabotage our own possibilities of realizing potential.

We are given the gift of love; yet we sometimes hide this gift for fear of losing it.

We are given the gift of life everlasting; yet we sometimes cling more to life temporal in this world.

How much longer will you put off taking steps to possess the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?

The Lord has promised us God’s care, God has assured us that we are the Lord’s, and God has already given us our inheritance.  Do we abide with God in confident expectation?  Do we take steps to explore and inhabit the land which God has promised?  How much longer will we put off the taking of these steps?

A Favorite from September 26, 2009.

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Luke 9:8-36: Transfiguration

Second Sunday of Lent, February 21, 2016grymes violins

So many times we are called to Transfiguration.  So many times we are called to Exodus.  So many times we meet angels and prophets and yet do not respond.  We are so caught up in getting through the day, getting through the night, the week, the month, the year . . . the life.

So often we want to pause at a happy spot to set up a tent to house that moment and hold it.  So often we want to wrestle with time until it obeys us.  We live in the past . . . live in the future . . . live anywhere else but the present . . . re-living, un-living, projecting, transferring.

Jesus goes up to the mountain with two of his beloved apostles to speak with Elijah, Moses and his Father about the work that lies before him.  Of course he knows what was expected of him – down to the smallest detail – yet he listens to those who have gone before him. He listens to the wisdom of the ages. And he shares the experience with his friends.

violins of hopeJesus shares this wisdom and love with us as well.  He give to us the opportunity of transfiguration of self.  We are not held away from the gift of salvation; rather, we are invited to join Christ’s joy and glory.  So when the cloud descends upon us, and we hear the voice from the mist say: This is my Son, listen to him . . . may we have the courage, the wisdom, the light and the joy to do as we are bidden.  Because through this experience comes a true knowing of God, a true knowing of self.  With this comes an openness to the Word and the Truth and the Light.

In this Lenten journey, it is good to pause to reflect upon the possibilities offered to us through Transfiguration.

Adapted from a Favorite from December 11, 2007.

Looking for transfiguration, we begin a new Lenten practice this week. Rather than thinking: “Let us make three tents to contain the joy of God’s wisdom,” let us think instead, “Let us share the joy of God’s great gift of love”.

grymes bookTo learn more about how the Violins of Hope provide an opportunity for learning and reflection through restored instruments that survived the Holocaust, and to see how Cleveland’s MALTZ MUSEUM OF JEWISH HERITAGE offers opportunities of transfiguration, click on the images above or visit: http://www.violinsofhopecle.org/

To hear these violins in concert, go to a CBS video at: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/violins-of-hope/  

Learn about the book Violins of Hope by James A. Grymes at: http://www.jamesagrymes.com/

Tomorrow, the Christ.

 

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Moses TentFriday, October 3, 2014

Psalm 15

Refusing Panic

Who may dwell in the Lord’s tent or upon the Lord’s holy mountain?

Jeremiah has spoken to God’s people just as God has asked, and for his fidelity and suffering, he is abused and mocked.  The remnant remain and believe. The faithful know that sooner or later, Jeremiah will be silenced . . . but God’s word, spoken honestly and carefully, will never die. God’s truth lives forever and cannot be extinguished.

Jesus comes to live among us to heal and redeem, and for his compassion and mercy he is rejected and crucified. The remnant remain watchful and hopeful. The faithful know that here and now Christ continues to walk and live among us. God may be placed out of mind but God is present and cannot be denied. The Spirit is indwelling and cannot be extinguished.

A number of months ago we visited with Psalm 15 and we return today as we prepare for Jeremiah’s journey to Egypt – a place where the Hebrew people once sought refuge and became chained by slavery. A place from which the Twelve Tribes made their exodus with Moses to be delivered in their promised land. A place that served as refuge for the Christ family following Herod’s plot to murder the infant Jesus. Today we reflect on Psalm 15 and remind ourselves that when we stand steadfast in Christ, we must be prepared to reject anxiety. We must be ready to shun our fear. We must be willing to refuse any sense of panic.

Who may dwell in the Lord’s tent or upon the Lord’s holy mountain?

God says: I am well aware of the sacrifices you make for me. I see that you put your desires and sometimes your needs to the side as you take up my cause and deliver my words. Like my prophet Jeremiah you even place yourself at risk when you speak and act as I have asked. Know that I see all of your big and small losses. Understand that I see how you suffer. Believe that I place my hope in you and that you may place all your hope in me. I am goodness and goodness never fails. I am compassion and compassion always heals. I am love and love never abandons . . . always accompanies . . . always saves . . . always redeems . . . always transforms . . . always brings home. If you must be carried off to Egypt, know that I go with you. And know that I will also bring you home.

Today, spend time with this short psalm, and consider not if we may dwell in the Lord’s tent or on God’s holy mountain, consider how we can dwell anywhere else.

Walk without blame, do what is right, speak truth from the heart, do not slander, defame, or harm your neighbor, disdain the wicked, honor those who love God, keep your promises at all cost, accept no bribe . . . for whoever acts like this shall never be shaken. 

See the Fearlessness reflection first written on March 25, 2010 and later posted as a favorite; and reflect on the importance of trusting God, of rejecting panic . . . and remaining as remnant that is never shaken.

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Holy Saturday, April 19, 2014

Holy-Saturday

John 7:37-39

Discussion

Yesterday we reflected on God’ invitation to us that we enter into an intimate relationship with the Word. Today as we rest in the promise that Christ returns in a way we cannot understand, we discover how or if, when or why we thirst to know more about God. If you did not listen to the long version of the Avivah Zornberg interview with Krista Tippett yesterday . . . take the time today. Record questions. Initiate discussions. And in this Holy Week that begins today, share the story of your personal exodus, transformation and redemption.

http://www.onbeing.org/program/avivah-zornberg-the-transformation-of-pharaoh-moses-and-god/6258/audio?embed=1

laying jesus in the tomb

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Good Friday, April 18, 2014

Red Sea Find

Red Sea Discovery

John 7:32-36

Questions

In today’s Noontime we hear words from Jesus that cause his listeners, both then and now, to ask questions. Rather than stifling curiosity that will lead to a fuller understanding of his identity and purpose, Jesus initiates a sense of inquiry that continues today. Jesus frequently answers questions with further questions. Jesus regularly creates open conversations instead of shutting down curiosity. Jesus refuses to take these questions as a challenge to his divinity and instead, uses these questions to call each of us to our own divinity.

Any creed that provides firm and pat answers to all question about our relationship with God does not reflect the life Jesus lives with his followers. What we experience today is God’s invitation to open and free dialog with God’s Word. We experience the patient and compassionate Spirit that abides with us despite our reluctance to believe.

On this Good Friday, find an hour of time to listen to an On Being podcast of an interview conducted by Krista Tippett with Avivah Zornberg, a midrash expert. (The interview was conducted on April 7, 2005 and was first aired on April 10, 2014.) We investigate the Exodus story about a people who were once honored guests who have become slaves in ancient Egypt.

“With a master of midrash as our guide, we walk through the Exodus story at the heart of Passover. It’s not the simple narrative you’ve watched at the movies or learned in Sunday school. Neither Moses or Pharaoh, nor the oppressed Israelites or even God, are as they seem. As Avivah Zornberg reveals, Exodus is a cargo of hidden stories — telling the messy, strange, redemptive truth of us as we are, and life as it is”. (On Being: http://www.onbeing.org/ April 10, 2014)

Zornberg points out that this story of flight does not happen in order that we merely re-tell or re-read it; rather, it takes place so that we will each tell a greater story of our own exodus from slavery to salvation. Listen today . . . and think about how each of us might recount our own redemption story.  Listen today . . . ask questions today . . . experience the events of Good Friday in which Christ makes his own exodus . . . and be prepared to listen to God speak to us in a new and redemptive way.

http://www.onbeing.org/program/avivah-zornberg-the-transformation-of-pharaoh-moses-and-god/6258/audio?embed=1

Listen to the unedited version of this interview to hear how Zornberg explains God’s passion for the faithful, and the importance of women in this saga when she connects The Song of Songs and Exodus.

The image above is an object found in the Red Sea. The image of a chariot axle is superimposed. To find out more, click on the image or go to: www.bibleresearcher.org/comments/Exodus-the-crossing.html

To learn more about the midrash, go to: www.myjewishlearning.com/texts/Rabbinics/Midrash.shtml

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